Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Star Trek: Course Corrections, Parts 2 & 3 (of 10)

Continuing my unpublished Star Trek short story and  below are parts two and three. If you haven't read the first part you can read it here: Part 1  Unfortunately still haven't figured out how to fix the spacing issues for that segment.


            McCoy worried about his friend as he wandered the simulated night of the Enterprise corridors.  He knew Jim was always harder on himself than he needed to be. That personality quirk helped him rise to his current position, but it put way too much stress on him. Damnit, being a ship captain is stressful enough, why in the world would someone like Jim want to pile on with unnecessary guilt, he wondered. Because he's a good man, came a counterpoint from somewhere in the back of his brain. Over the last half decade, McCoy figured he had been on perhaps eighty percent of the landing parties. Spock had probably been on even more, and could probably calculate to the last decimal the percentage when neither he nor McCoy had accompanied the captain. That was the mistake, McCoy thought, between the two of us Spock would give him logical options and I would give him the correct ones, and he would make his decisions and known they were right. He wouldn't be torturing himself like this if one or both of us had been with him this time. He paused at the irony. Now he was doing it. Blaming himself for the fact that space exploration was a dangerous job.
            He found himself at Scotty's cabin and rang the chime. There was no answer. He continued on down to Main Engineering. Scotty was never really off duty. Sure, he was only on the schedule for a standard eight hour shift but, if his belly was full and his technical journals read, he always found a reason to go to Engineering. It was a struggle in the early days of McCoy's assignment to the Enterprise to get the Scotsman to take a break. It was only when McCoy realized that Scotty so loved his job and so loved tweaking the machine they called home, that McCoy gave up. He worried about Scotty being a workaholic who would burn himself out, but then when he saw how the egineer relished shore leave, he realized the concerns were unfounded. Scotty worked hard and played hard and in between he tinkered to relax. McCoy mistakenly mistook tinkering with work.
            When McCoy entered Main Engineering, he heard Montgomery Scott before he saw him.
            "Blast it! That shoulda worked."
            McCoy looked around and saw a skinny young Ensign kneeling in front of an open panel.
            "But sir, efficiency ratings are well above accepted parameters."
            Scotty worked himself out of the mechanical hole.
            "Efficiency ratings," Scotty repeated as if something sour had found its way into his mouth. "Feh, those ratings are established by planet bound desk jockeys. They do nae have to give the captain all she's got when he needs it. We do."
            The ensign blanched as Scotty rose to his feet and continued, "Ye dinae need worry about their parameters, ye need to worry about my parameters, understand lad?
            With a gulp, the ensign nodded. McCoy decided he would rescue the kid.
            "Scotty," he called out, his voice echoing in the large chamber, "care to take a break for a nip of the true?"
            Scotty dismissed the junior officer through pursed lips that underscored his displeasure before turning to the doctor and allowing a smile to split his face at the sight of the curved bottle and duo of glasses.
            "Aye, that sounds like just the prescription this engineer needs," Scotty said, "Let's go into my office."


            Scotty escorted the doctor into his private office, and noticed the doctor looking around.
            "You know, I don't think I have ever been in here."  McCoy said.
            "Aye, I dinae use it much. It's more of a storage place for, well, all o' this," Scotty said with a wave of his arm.
            Scott was amused as McCoy took in the piles of papers and blueprints.
            "Is all this the Enterprise?" McCoy asked.
            "Scotty, you, ah, you do realize it's all available on the ship's computer?"
            "Aye, but what if the computer is down and ah need the information?"
            Without missing a beat. McCoy scrunched up his face. "Never mind, I don't want to think about it," he said has he took a seat in the chair in front of Scotty's desk.
            "We'd be up the proverbial creek and ah good engineer always needs ah paddle."
            "Here's my paddle," McCoy said hefting the brandy bottle.
            "What creek are ye up doctor, did Ensign Perez not pull through?"
            "We're at a wait and see point. Dr. M'Benga is keeping an eye on him, if he makes it through the night..."
            "I'm sure ye did all ye could, doctor," Scotty said pulling a bottle of scotch and a glass more than twice the size of McCoy's from beneath his desk.
            Scotty filled it almost to the brim and held it high.
            "Ta makin' it though the night."
            Scotty emptied the glass in three gulps and took a seat as McCoy replied in kind.
            "How's the captain doin'?"
            "I don't want to speak out of turn. I'll just say the usual and leave it at that," McCoy said as he shifted uncomfortably, probably worried about stepping over a confidentiality line.
            Scotty knew Captain Kirk always fretted about his crew but there were so many random encounters that no amount of planning could account for. That's why Scotty loved machines, the math was simple. If X doesn't work then do Y to fix it. The idea of the captain blaming himself for the actions of a bloody Klingon caused a flash of anger.
            "Bloody hell, I hope ye nipped that in the bud. There was not a bloody thing he could do."
            "You saw it?"
            "No. I was trying to get the Vendresi defense system up with Lieutenant Washburn. But I heard when the Klingons beamed aboard they just started firing. Poor Ensign Takahashi was vaporized before anyone could react. The captain, Chekov, and Perez were lucky they made it."
            "How is Chekov?" McCoy asked, realizing he had yet to check in on the young Ensign.
            "Och, he's just as bad as the captain. Blames himself."
            "Figures, I don't know who has corrupted the boy more, Jim or Spock."
            "Today, ah'd say it was the captain," Scotty said as he poured another drink.
            "I guess I should stop by and check on him. Self blame is no doubt a Russian invention," McCoy said trying, and failing, to get his southern mouth to emulate the young navigator's thick accent.
            "Ye might want to talk to Uhura as well," Scotty said. "Sub-space chatter is that a new head o' Starfleet was appointed. It may effect assignments when we get home."
            That stopped McCoy cold in his tracks. Scotty figured it would.
            "Awe, hell," McCoy said.
            McCoy's reaction was what Scotty suspected it would be. Nogura was one of the few thoughtful Admirals in Scotty's opinion. Most didn't know their elbow from a anti-matter pod. However, Nogura was big on "rewarding" success. So far, both Morrow and Cartwright had been promoted to Admiral when they got back to Earth after their missions. Both were heavily advocated by Nogura and now that he was in charge of the fleet he would push Captain Kirk hard to take an Admiral's position. Most assumed he would be offered another deep space mission after getting the Enterprise a proper refit and most of the crew, Scotty included, wanted to sign on again under the captain. But now, one could only assume Nogura would want the captain at Starfleet Command. Now that he was the top dog, Nogura would get what he wanted by hook or by crook.
            "If Nogura catches Jim at the wrong time..."
            "Aye, the Enterprise would lose the best captain in the fleet."
            Scotty could see the wheels turning behind McCoy's eyes and tried to console him.
            "We're still ah few months from home, the captain will nae make a rash decision, there is still time to sway him, if'n we think he's about to make a poor decision"
            "I'll talk to Chekov, then see what Uhura has heard," McCoy said as he paused at the door, "However, if Jim takes a desk job, I swear, I'll leave the fleet."
            Scotty filled his glass again and hoisted it in the air.
            "Then good luck to ya, Doctor McCoy cause I would hate to lose the best captain and the best doctor in the fleet."

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